When choosing a wine do you find yourself looking at the medals? Ever wondered what they mean? You could be in for a surprise. While there are certainly some world class events that are worthy of their status, many are as useful as a cat at a dog show.
Here’s an example. Shingleback, Davy Brothers 2012 Shiraz. At a first glance, the wine is from McLaren Vale in South Australia. I’m pretty sure that up until now, I’ve never had a bad wine from McLaren Vale. It’s one of those trusty regions, with trustworthy winemakers, in essence, you could look at a wine list, select a McLaren Vale wine and be confident it would be a crowd pleaser.
The fact that it had four shiny gold medals on it made it even more attractive. Couldn’t possibly go wrong. So I thought. Fair enough, it’s not an aged wine and I certainly wasn’t expecting anything over the top. I was expecting something reasonably drinkable, though. So the researcher in me decided to investigate those shiny gold medals. By the way, it’s never been a criteria for selection for me.
The first one: “WINESTATE 2014 BEST VALUE WINE OF AUSTRALIA (UNDER $20)” – Winestate Magazine is a publication that relies on advertisers for revenue. Interestingly that a quick glance of winners excludes trusted favourites. Could it be that contenders would have to be advertisers to qualify? I don’t know. (www.winestate.com.au) Personally, I would rate ALDI home brand wine ($3 a bottle) as the best value wine. It’s great.
The second one: “CWSA BEST WINE DOUBLE GOLD MEDAL 2014 HONG KONG” – The China Wine & Spirit Awards are calling for entries now. So unless you purposefully enter your wine, you don’t stand a chance. Do you think it could be possible that a winemaker wanting to export to China would receive great benefit by entering? A quick look at the website reveals there are hundreds maybe thousands of winners every year. Pretty hard not get one I would think. (www.cwsa.org)
The third one: “NZ INTERNATIONAL WINE SHOW GOLD MEDAL 2014 CLASS18A” – From 2,100 entries for the 2015 awards only 1,517 entries scored a medal. Again, a really tough competition…or not. The website lists plenty of sponsors and the fees required to enter. It would be a shame to pay money and not get a medal. Especially in class 18b whatever that is. (www.nziws.co.nz)
The fourth one: “DECANTER ASIA WINE AWARDS GOLD MEDAL 2014 HONG KONG” – This one is a bit tougher as only 488 wines from Australia featured in the 2014 medals. Again this seems as a pay-to-play awards system. (www.decanter.com) I’m guessing once again that if you were to export to the Asian market then it would be good to have a gold medal on the label.
So, it’s a wine that presents with shiny gold labels on it. Unfortunately, it doesn’t match my expectations. McLaren Vale – normally a big tick. Shingleback – my first experience. Davey Brothers – also my first experience (duh). Overall? Won’t be buying it again.
I’m sure the wine should be better than what I tasted with all those gold medals and a James Halliday Wine Companion rating of 94.
For me, I would suggest there are plenty of other reliable daily drinkers out there. Oh, and the Aldi Shiraz? At around $3 a bottle, it scored an impressive 95. Looks like I’m off to the local Aldi for the weekly shopping (except Queensland) at a more affordable price. I think they have food there as well.